The concept of Agri Tourism:-
Agri Tourism is the latest concept in the Indian tourism industry, which normally occurs on farms. It gives an opportunity to the tourists to experience the real enchanting and authentic contact with the rural life, taste the local genuine food and get familiar with the various farming tasks during the visit.
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Tourists can relax and revitalize in the pure natural environment. The urban life is becoming more hectic and complex. The corporate world has provided good employment avenues but along with this, it has increased the stress level and the complexity. With the experience of Agri Tourism, people can get relaxation.
Because of the urbanization, many children, as well as the adults, do not have an idea about rural life and agriculture. Agri Tourism provides them a chance to experience rural life and see agricultural activities. Agri Tourism includes opening up farms to tourists from urban areas and from abroad and letting them take the experience of rural life. Apart from telling them about the various crops and how they are sown and harvested, Agri Tourism exposes tourists to traditional food, handicraft, culture, music, and language.
Tourists can get an experience of rural activities such as bullock cart rides, milking cows and goats and picking farm fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. Agri-tourism involves any agriculturally-based activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch and that includes a wide variety of activities like picking fruit, feeding animals, or staying on a farm, etc. For many farmers, agri-tourism is the additional source of income and way of promotion.
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Introduction of Agri Tourism:-
In spite of attaining rapid growth in industrial and service sectors during the last few decades, agriculture still remains the mainstay for the Indian economy, contributing 14 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and accounting for 13 percent of India’s export.
In fact, agriculture is the predominant avocation, where about 70 percent of the population depends upon directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood. It is worthwhile to mention that 110 million farmers are dwelling in 6.25 lakh villages producing more than 200 million tonnes of food grains, feeding the whole country. But nowadays, Indian agriculture is posing with a number of problems.
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Such problems mainly consist of a change of climate i.e; the occurrence of droughts and floods owing to low and high rainfall conditions, melting of glaciers, resulting into increase in sea water level, unsustainable agricultural lands due to sub-division and fragmentation of the land holdings, the high cost of inputs, poor returns, etc. All these problems are forcing the farmers to sell their lands, seek wage employment and other alternative avenues to supplement the family income.
Moreover, some farmers are suffering badly from in debts and as such many of them are committing suicides. Above all the new generations are not interested to adopt agriculture as a profession. However, the farmers who are holding back the small farms are recognizing the need and desire to diversify their farm products and adopt Agri-Tourism or Farm Tourism to supplement their agricultural income. This concept has vast scope in India particularly states like Jharkhand, Odessa, WB and Chhatisgarh which are God gifted with natural beauty and topography.
Since nowadays the major development in Agritourism is taking place all around the world, different forms of Agri-tourism are seen. Agri Tourism gives people the chance to breathe fresh air, learn about the rural environment, ride horses, pick fruits, feed animals, milk cows and participate in actual work of the farm and buy produce directly from a farm. Agri Tourism is a form of niche tourism in which farms are used as tourist destinations for educational and/or recreational purposes.
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Why Agri Tourism?
Mother nature is an open door school without brick walls, observe carefully, explore the hidden treasures and learn something or the other, moreover India is agriculture country, hence it is expected of us to be well informed about it.
Urban population is increasing day by day, today urban children’s world is restricted in the closed door school, classes, cartoon programs on the television, video games, chocolates, soft drinks, spicy fast food, computer, internet, and so on, and they see Mother Nature only on the television screen.
Moreover out of people living in the cities 35 % do not have relatives in villages and 43% never visited or stayed in the village. Agriculture as business is becoming more and more expensive and many farmers cannot afford it. To add to this the gradual loss of fertility of the land that is giving diminishing yields.
Unless and until the farmers start a business of any form to compliment and support to their income from land, they shall be doomed to eke out bare existence below the poverty line.
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Advantages of Agri Tourism are:-
- It brings major primary sector agriculture closer to major service sector tourism. This convergence is expected to create a win-win situation for both sectors.
- The tourism sector has the potential to enlarge.
- The agriculture sector has the capacity to absorb expansion in touTourismctor.
SCOPE OF Agri Tourism:-
Agri Tourism has great scope in the present context for the following reasons:-
- An inexpensive gateway – The cost of food, accommodation, recreation and travel is least in Agri-Tourism. This widens the tourist base. Present concept of travel and tourism is limited to urban and rich class which constitutes only a small portion of the population. However, the concept of Agri-Tourism takes travel and tourism to the larger population, widening the scope of tourism due to its cost effectiveness.
- Curiosity about the farming industry and life style – The urban population having roots in villages always have had the curiosity to learn about sources of food, plants, animals, raw materials like wood, handicrafts, languages, culture, tradition, dresses and rural lifestyle. Agri Tourism which revolves around farmers, villages and agriculture has the capacity to satisfy the curiosity of this segment of population.
Strong demand for wholesome family oriented recreational activities – Villages provide recreational opportunities to all age groups i.e. children young, middle and old age, male, female, in total to the whole family at a cheaper cost. Rural games, festivals, food, dress and the nature provides variety of entertainment to the entire family.
- Health consciousness of urban population and finding solace with nature friendly means – Modern lifestyle has made life stressful and average life span has come down. Hence, people are in constant search of pro-nature means to make life more peaceful. Ayurveda which is a pro-nature medical approach has roots in villages. Indigenous medical knowledge of villagers is respected. Organic foods are in greater demand in urban areas and foreign countries. In total, health conscious urban population is looking towards pronature villages for solutions.
- Desire for peace and tranquility – Modern life is a product of diversified thinking and diversified activities. Every individual attempts to work more, in different directions to earn more money to enjoy modern comforts. Hence, peace is always out of his system. Tourism is a means for searching peaceful location. Peace and tranquility are inbuilt in Agri-Tourism as it is away from urban areas and close to nature.
Interest in natural environment – Busy urban population is leaning towards nature. Because, natural environment is always away from busy life. Birds, animals, crops, mountains, water bodies, villages provide totally different atmosphere to urban population in which they can forget their busy urban life.
- Disillusionment with overcrowded resorts and cities – In resorts and cities, overcrowded peace seekers disturb each other’s peace. Hence, peace is beyond cities and resorts. Even though efforts are made to create village atmosphere in the sub urban areas through resorts, farm houses, it looks like a distant replica of the original.
- Nostalgia for their roots on the farm – Cities are growing at the cost of villages. Villagers are migrating to cities in search of jobs and to seek the comforts of modern life. Hence, yesterday’s villagers are today’s urbanites. Deep in the heart of urbanites lies the love and respect for their ancestors and villages. Hence, visit to villages satisfies their desire. This is also expressed through the hatred of urbanites to flat culture and love for farmhouses located in the outskirts of cities. Any opportunity to visit villages and spend time with family is dream of any urbanite. But, minimum decent facilities are always problem. Agri-Tourism attempts to overcome this problem.
Rural recreation – Villages provide variety of recreation to urbanites through festivals and handicrafts. Villagers (farmers) lifestyle, dress, languages, culture / traditions which always add value to the entertainment. Agricultural environment around farmers and the entire production process could create curiosity among urban taught. Places of agricultural importance like highest crop yielding farm, highest animal yielding farm, processing units, farms where innovations tried add attraction to the tourists. Agricultural products like farm gate fresh market, processed foods, organic food could lure the urban tourists. As result of this agri – the atmosphere in the villages, there is scope to develop Agri – Tourism products like agrishopping, culinary tourism, pick and own your tree / plot, bed and breakfast, pick and pay.
- bullock cart riding, camel riding, boating, fishing, herbal walk, rural games and health (ayurvedic) tourism.
10. Educational value of Agri Tourism – Agri Tourism could create awareness about rural life and knowledge about agriculture science among urban school children. It provides a best alternative for school picnics which are urban based. It provides opportunity for hands on experience for urban college students in agriculture. This is a means for providing training to future farmers. this would be effectively used as educational and training tool to train agriculture and line department officers. This provides unique opportunity for education through recreation where learning is fun effective and easy. Seeing is believing, doing is learning. This experience based concept is the USP of Agri- Tourism.
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BASIC PRINCIPLES OF Agri Tourism:-
Agri Tourism should ensure the following three basic principles.
- Have something for visitors to see – Animals, birds, farms and nature are few things which Agri-Tourism could offer to the tourist. Apart from these, culture, dress, festivals and rural games could create enough interest among visitors in Agri-Tourism.
- Have something for visitors to do – Participating in agricultural operations, swimming, bullock cart riding, camel riding, buffalo riding, cooking and participating in the rural games are few activities to quote in which tourists can take part and enjoy.
- Have something for visitors to buy – Rural crafts, dress materials, farm gate fresh agriculture products, processed foods are the few items which tourist can buy as memento for remembrance.
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Agro Tourism Opportunities in India:-
- Indian tourism industry is growing @10.1%. The World Tourism organization has estimated that the tourism industry is growing at the rate of 4% a year and that by the year 2019 there will be more than two billions tourists visit various parts of the world. But Indian tourism industry is growing at the rate of 10% which is 2½ times more than the growth rate at global level. By introducing Agro-tourism concept, not only present growth rate is sustained but also this value addition contributes to further growth.
India has entered amongst the top 10 tourist destinations list (Conde Nast Travellor “A leading European Travel Magazine). India is already established as one of the top tourist destination in the world. Value addition by introducing novel products like Agrotourism would only strengthen the competitiveness of Indian tourism industry in global market.
- India has diverse culture and geography which provide ample and unlimited scope for the growth of this business. India has diverse agro-climatic conditions, diverse crops, people, culture, deserts, mountains, coastal systems and islands which provide scope for promotion of all seasons, multi-location tourism products.
- Increasing number of tourists preferring non-urban tourist spots. Hence, there is scope for promotion of non-urban tourist spots in interior villages by establishing Agro-tourism centers. But, adequate facilities and publicity are must to promote such centers.
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Some successful entertainment farming enterprises and techniques in Agri-Tourism:-
Agri-tourism is a viable income generating activities in many developed counties which would provide lead to promote the same with modifications suiting to our conditions.
Well you must now be bored of visiting the hill stations and staying in the first class Ac hotel room. And you might be looking for the change this time. And to offer you the holidays with the difference Agri Tourism is definitely a good option.
To get that very special experience of the rural ambiance and to enjoy the rural life, Indian tourism provides you the opportunity to stay right away in the farms houses along with the other villagers and experience the difference. Witness the unique lifestyle of the villagers.
Learn about the their age old traditions and culture, which they resume till date. Converse with them and feel how warm hearted and simple they are. Along with them spend time playing the pleasing rural games such as taash (cards) and kho kho. Than there are interesting bull fight and wrestling matches held on various occasions in the village. On the tour to the village what attracts you the most is the colorful costumes of the villages.
Womens are seen wearing the ghagra choli (Skirt and top) or the saris. While are men are donned up in the traditional kurtas and turbans. Both men and women are usually seen wearing the various jewelery items.
Venturing into the agricultural farms :
Roam into the vast spreaded acres of agricultural lands along with the group of villagers who can provide you the better insight of the village. As you roam into the fields, feel the smell of the India soil, which gives you the real flavor of India. Enchant with the farmers working hard in the fields. Take the view of the bulls ploughing the fields. The wells, other water bodies, mountains and forests are the added attraction for the tourists.
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Apart from all this, holidays on farms provides you the complete entertainment. Ride on the bullock carts along with the villager’s into the agricultural fields. See them carrying fodder for animals into the buggies. You can even take the camel ride to explore the village and the surrounding areas.
Cow milking is real exciting activity, which can’t be escaped. Practice the art of cow milking from the villagers. Feed the cows with the fodder and chapatis. See how the rural womens cook food on the chulas made of mud. Taste the authentic rural cuisine and drink fresh milk of cow.
Rural art and craft:-
Villages are expert in making the handicrafts, it is something which is passed on from their one generation to the other. You can carry some of the items back to the home as the momentum.
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Village fairs and festivals:-
You can also participate in the village seasonal harvest fair and festivals. Sarhul,Onam, Baishaki and Pongal are some of the village most famous harvest festivals. Than you can enjoy the traditional dance and music performed by the villagers on such occasions. You are advised to respect the local tradition and please do not take out the photographs without permission as the villagers are quite conserve and orthodox.
Some of the successful running models of Agri Tourism are:–
- Wineries with Friday happy hours.
- Arts & Crafts Demonstrations.
- Farm Store : Exhibition of farm equipments
- Roadside Stand selling fresh farm products and craft items.
- Processing of farm products and sale.
- Demonstration of Agri-activities.
- Sheep Shearing.
*Poultry farming- (Backyard poultry, Beoiler,& Layer poultry )
- Wool Processing.
- Fee fishing / hunting.
- Farm Vacations.
- Bed and Breakfast.
- Farm Tours.
- Horseback Riding.
- Cross-country skiing.
Bad weather – like desert, snow fields, heavy rainfall also attract Agri-tourists.
- Picnic Grounds.
- A shady spot for visitors to rest – like a big banyan tree.
- Educational Tours for school children, officers and progressive farmers.
- Farm Schools to teach a particular skill.
- Outdoor Schools which are mobile in nature teaching agriculture.
- Herb Walks.
- Workshops on interesting, emerging agriculture topics.
- Festivals with wide publicity and sponsorship.
- Cooking Demos to satisfy housewives.
- Pick-Your-own Pumpkin Patch.
- Rent –an – apple tree.
- Moonlight activities.
- Speakers who can attract Agro-tourist narrating Agricultural experiences.
- Regional Themes like tribal coffee of Kerala, Andaman spices etc.
- Crop Art.
- Pizza Farm.
- Historical Recreations like highlighting a oldest farm etc.
- Log Buildings.
- Antique Villages.
- Collection of old farm Machinery.
- Miniature Village.
- Farm Theme Playground for Children.
- Gift Shop.
- Crafts Demonstrations.
- Food Sales.
- Lunch Counter.
- Cold Drinks.
- Theme (apple town, etc.).
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Formation of Agri-Tourism Development Corporation. (ATDC)’s mission is:-
“To promote agriculture tourism to achieve income, employment, and economic stability in rural communities in India. To help boosting a range of activities, services and amenities by farmers and rural people to attract urban tourists to their area. Thus providing opportunity to urban people to get back to the rural roots”.
ATDC’s Role in Agri Tourism:-
- Prepare Agri Tourism project report and business plan for each applicant agriculture farm.
- Help to facilitate the financial support from Nationalize banks, institutes, and government agencies to built agri and rural tourism facilities and infrastructure like accommodation, sanitation, approach road etc.
- Conduct Agri Tourism Business Training Program.
- Conduct Seminars and conferences on Agri Tourism business.
- Provide sales and marketing support.
- Co-ordinate tours from urban areas to the farms. The trust decided to experiment Agri Tourism concept on a pilot scale on its own 110 acres model farm, Malegaon, Baramati.
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Strategy for the promotion of the AgriTourism concept is as follows:-
- Product – The product in Agri-tourism is seeing, believing and ultimately experiencing. This experience is unique and unmatched. The experience of climbing a tree, buffalo riding in the pond and enjoying the sugarcane juice in the field itself are unique and none of the million dollar tourist centers can create and offer such experiences.
- Price a. Customer segment pricing – Domestic and foreign tourist could be priced differently as the capacity to pay is different. For a bullock cart riding, a foreign tourist can pay one dollar where as a domestic tourist can pay only one fourth. b. Location pricing – Pricing in Agri-tourism depends upon location and importance. Agri Tourism which just offers agriculture and rural life as an attraction can charge normal pricing. Where as Agri-tourism spots which are very close to established tourism centres like temple towns, hill stations, around big cities can go far little bit higher charging due to added value. As the pricing in established tourism places are high, it works out to be cheaper for tourist to stay and enjoy in Agri Tourism spots. c. Time pricing – Agri Tourism units can charge higher in peak season i.e. November to January and change less during rest of the period. During rural festivals or at the time of important events Agri Tourism units can charge more, even though it is during the off season.
Place – The place where tourists are accommodated also influences the pricing. If the tourists are accommodated in villages itself with the farmer, the charging can be less whereas accommodation in farms cost high. Because, exclusively for tourist purpose infrastructure is created in farm whereas existing facilities are used in farmers’ house in village. Promotion – Promotion of Agri-tourism and strategic alliance can takes place at three levels: a. Alliance with airlines, tour operators and foreign embassies – This alliance brings foreign tourists and upper middle class urban tourists into Agri Tourism fold. It may not be possible for individual farmers to take up this task. Government can assist the Agri Tourism units through promotion and co-ordination activities through central and state tourism departments.
b. Alliance with hotel industry – Large number of domestic tourists can be attracted through alliance with hotel industry. The hotel industry can be used to promote the Agri-tourism concept.
c. Promotion by Agri Tourism units – Basically the promotion takes place through mouth to mouth and local publicity given by Agri Tourism units. As the absorption capacity of each unit is very less, direct marketing with little aggressive mode is enough for an Agri-tourism unit to survive. They can go for combined publicity on cost sharing basis and also publics the Agri Tourism potential in other part of the country. But, promotion of this group approach needs initial government interventions. Positioning – Ultimately Agri Tourism concept has to be positioned in the minds of tourists as “Come, pluck a fruit, smell a flower, run in the fields, lie on the hay and be lost in rural India”.
Issues needing attention to the promotion of AgriTourism:-
It is difficult to provide publicity to a remote Agri-tourism unit. Hence, either collectively such Agri-tourism operators can provide publicity or organizations like ITDC, State tourism development corporations, NGOs, press and tour operators can take up this responsibility. Information technology can play very important role in promotion of Agri Tourism. An interactive website containing all details about Agri-tourism locations and a toll free 24 hours help line can provide necessary information to Agri Tourism.
Reaching the remote Agri-tourism units is the greatest challenge due to lack of approach roads and poor transportation facilities in rural areas. Tele connectivity is must which is yet to reach villages. Government should play important role in creating these facilities namely roads, transport and telecommunication to rural areas especially where Agri-tourism units are established on priority basis. These efforts could be effective with private participation in partnership mode.
Safe and clean accommodation is must in Agri-tourism. Urban and foreign tourists look for these minimum facilities. Orienting Agri tour operators on one hand and providing incentive to such efforts on other hand is necessary. Regular clean water supply and neat toilets are important. At the same time, it is necessary to limit modern facilities in which Agri-tourist is not interested.
Networking public and private stakeholders at national and state level to assist the Agri-tourism operator at remote place is necessary. This network can get policy support, infrastructure and publicity to Agri Tourism units.
5. Capacity building of farmers – Farmer need to be oriented on maintenance of facilities, hospitality and public relation which he is not aware
Safety of tourists:–
Agri-tourism units are located in remote areas which lacks roads, medical facilities, telecommunication and sometimes threat from theft and wild animals. Hence, support of local population is must besides facilities for emergency medical care.
Private partnership – Agripreneurs, farmers’ organizations, cooperatives, NGOs and agribusiness companies can take up these ventures with the help of farmers and government agencies tour operators. Transporters and hospitality industry would also benefit in the process.
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SWOT Analysis of AgriTourism:-
- A strong supplementary source of income for farmers • Employment generation • Rural development
- Immense scope of growth • More farmers can the beneficiaries • Government support can increase the outreach • Government lands can be converted as ATC’s
- Climatic conditions.
- Less competition, so no threats.
- Rampant migration from farming to other sectors.
- Low growth comparatively.
- Less educated farmers, so need varied training.
- Lack of govt support.
- Lack of EAS.
- Govt support and policy.
- Capacity building.
- More consultancy services.
- Implementation of perfect models.
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